York Region District School Board plans to stagger start of classes

Aug 20 2020, 8:26 am

The York Region District School Board (YRDSB) has informed parents that is will stagger the start of the school year.

On Wednesday, the school board sent a letter to parents announcing the plan in order to “help students learn routines and become familiar with their new learning environments.”

The details of the plan have not been released but the YRDSB Director of Education, Louise Sirisko, informed parents it will be known to them soon.

The news comes after Education Minister Stephen Lecce sent a memo to school boards allowing for a staggered start over a two week period.

Sirisko also said the Ministry of Education allowed the school board to proceed with their adaptive learning model for secondary school students.

The model means that students who have opted to attend school in person will do so on alternating days.

“On the days they attend school, students will have 150 minutes of in-class learning at the start of the school day in one course, and three 50-minute periods of online learning in the afternoon. This scheduling model of in-person and online learning time is aligned with most other adaptive school boards in the province,” Sirisko said.

The director added that this plan focuses on student safety and meets the requirements that students remain in cohorts of 15 and that contact is limited to 100.

“It also provides additional learning time over the course of the semester, including in-class learning, compared to some other models and allows for a more smooth transition to a conventional learning model if public health determines it is safe to do so,” the letter reads.

Sirisko also said that the school board is finalizing safety protocols, including masking and are continuing to look for ways to reduce class sizes for in-person learning in elementary schools to ensure physical distancing is followed.

One of the main criticisms of the Ontario back-to-school plan is that elementary classes will not be physically distanced.

Last week, the provincial government allowed school boards to dip into $500 million of reserve funds to use as they see fit to institute physical distancing.

Clarrie FeinsteinClarrie Feinstein

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